Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is expected to stay at the Bernabeu this summer, despite struggling to even get on the pitch in recent weeks, with his agent Jonathan Barnett declaring that a loan is off the table and that few clubs in the world could actually afford the Welshman.
Bale only featured in two of Real’s final 14 La Liga games of the season en-route to the title. He was an unused substitute on 10 occasions and wasn’t even included in the matchday squad for the final game of the campaign against Leganes.
The 31-year-old has been criticised for a perceived lack of interest since the season restarted, having been spotted joking around while on the bench more than once. His relationship with Real fans and the Spanish media appeared to reach new lows when he posed with a banner while on international duty in November that read, ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.’
Yet despite it seeming as though his time with Real has run its course, Barnett is adamant that Bale will not be leaving Los Blancos, with whom he has won four Champions League titles.
“Gareth is fine. He has two years left on his contract,” the agent told BBC Sport. “He likes living in Madrid and he is going nowhere. He is still as good as anyone else in the team. It’s up to Zinedine Zidane.”
Bale is among a number of high profile players across Europe whose wages and costs are pricing them out of a move. Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Real teammate James Rodriguez are similarly too expensive for their respective clubs to move on.
“Of course there’s been interest but there’s hardly a club in the world which can afford him. It’s a great loss that he’s not in the Real Madrid team at the moment but he will not leave,” Barnett commented on Bale’s potential availability.
A loan move has also been ruled out. James spent two years on loan at Bayern Munich, while Coutinho joined the German club on a temporary deal last summer – neither became permanent. Sanchez is still in need of a permanent home after spending this season at Inter, while a loan may also be the immediate future of Coutinho, who is unwanted by Barcelona.
Barnett has said that such a move won’t even be entertained, stating in no uncertain terms: “Gareth is one of the best players in the world. The best players in the world do not go out on loan.”
It is not the first time that Barnett has publicly commented that Bale is likely to stay at Real, telling BBC Radio 4 just last month: “He is quite happy at Madrid and has a very nice lifestyle. I don’t see why he doesn’t see his career out at Madrid.”
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